Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 5-27-21

Deacon Steven M. Johnson – St. James, Belvidere, IL
Homily for the 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 5-27-21, Year B
St Augustine of Canterbury-Bishop-Optional Memorial
READINGS: 1st Sir 42:15-25; Gospel Mk 10:46-52
Theme: Resolute In Faith

When we really put our mind to something we make that something happen through courage, persistence and faith.

It is like seeing a need in the community where people need help. You do not know what to do, who to see or even if there is anything that will work. Even so, you push forward. You speak with those in need, asking them how you can help.

You start by bringing a few desperate people some extra food and clothes you had around the house. You begin to see that there is a need beyond a one time, good will donation. These people need regular help and not just those you helped, but many others. You speak with your neighbor about what they might be able to donate.

Eventually, the word gets around and next thing you know your garage is filled with donated items and food. How are you going to get this distributed to the people who need it? You try to take the items yourself downtown to the people, but they are scattered everywhere, and it takes all night to do. The authorities start poking around asking about permits for food distribution and garbage pickup from the boxes and wrappers left in the park by the homeless.

You begin to wonder what you have gotten yourself into, yet, you know this is right and that things will work out. You pray to the Lord for assistance and continue on. 

In speaking with some business owners, one mentioned that one of the empty buildings downtown was being auctioned for taxes because the original owner abandoned it and now the city owns it. You speak further with others and a month later, with a group of private citizens and businesses, the building was purchased for one dollar with the stipulation it would be used for charity.

Your prayers were answered. Not long after that, a thriving food pantry and thrift shop was in place and staffed. The homeless people had a place to come for food, clothing, and information on shelters.

Your dream of a solution came true because you had the courage to do something, the persistence to stick it out when things got difficult, and faith that the Lord would show you the way and provide you an opportunity to bear good fruit. 

We see the same courage, persistence, and faith in Bartimaeus. He had the courage to ask for help, the persistence to continue to call out to Jesus, and the faith in knowing who Jesus was, the Messiah, who could restore his sight. But, more important, forgive him of his sins of which his blindness was a symbol.

One of the meanings of this passage is not the reality of the restoration of Bartimaeus’s physical sight, rather, it is the restoration of his soul back to God through courage and persistence to ask for forgiveness and to see things in a whole new and glorious way. He believed that Christ could forgive him and was so committed to seeing Jesus that nothing else around him mattered. He had to see Jesus and his love for God drove him to his healing by Jesus himself.

When you experience difficulty in your life remember Bartimaeus, and seek God with courage, be persistent in your prayers for healing and never doubt your faith that He will do it.  The way we do this is to seek God in reconciliation often and be healed. If we can do this, our sight may very well be restored to us and the freedom and liberation from our hardships and sin granted unto us by Jesus himself.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL